Penalties plague Eagles in 5–1 loss


LOVELAND, Colo. — Though the Colorado Eagles struggled with aggression and engagement last night, the rematch against the Calgary Wranglers showed adjustments despite dropping the game 5–1.

The most notable difference was the reintroduction of Justus Annunen to the crease. He was out of the lineup after the game against the San Jose Barracuda on Nov. 18. His absence highlighted the need for him to regain confidence between the pipes, but head coach Aaron Schneekloth ultimately took him out of the game halfway through the second period.

First period

Right out of the gate, it was clear the Eagles had a bone to pick. After yesterday’s close loss, it was clear Colorado could find a victory against Calgary.

But the Wranglers would not make a victory easy. Former Avalanche player Dryden Hunt found the back of the net first and gave the visiting team an early lead at the 7:25 mark.

Ben Meyers, assisted by Jack Ahcan, would answer the goal with his own only four minutes later. At the NHL level two weeks ago, Meyers also netted a goal against the Wranglers’ NHL affiliate, the Calgary Flames.

“I think it always helps,” Meyers said. “Obviously the game is faster there, so getting those reps in and then coming back makes it a little easier.”

Second period

The second frame was the beginning of the end for Colorado. Penalties plagued the Eagles and they played like they had a bone to pick with Calgary. They found themselves in the box for nineteen minutes while only committing three infractions.

Brad Hunt got the ball rolling with the penalties only nine seconds into the period for hooking. With only five seconds to go on his penalty, Annunen let a puck past him, and the Wranglers took the lead once and for all.

A minute later, the margin increased to two. The home team received their first opportunity to close the gap after drawing a tripping penalty. But, before even taking advantage, Jason Polin committed a fifteen-minute infraction, resulting in his removal from the game 6:17 into the second period.

With the intensity at an all-time high and several tussles already in the books, Corey Schueneman and Calgary’s Mitch McLain sealed the deal and both receive penalties for roughing at 10:26.

During the 4-on-4, Calgary scored again, and the former Avalanche member picked up his second of three assists for the night.

Two minutes later, the team netted another goal, and Trent Miner replaced Annunen. Trent Miner faced the visiting team last night.

Though receiving two more power play chances, the Eagles didn’t convert on any of them despite being incredibly successful on the road leading up to this series.

Third period

After steadily falling further and further away from a level playing field, the aggression and anger continued to build. Three and a half minutes in, Riley Tufte committed the last penalty of the match for roughing.

The Wranglers scored their last goal of the game 13:40 into the match and Hunt picked up his third and final point of the night.


During the entire weekend, Colorado was always presented with chances to score. Inconsistent power plays and a strong opposing goalie were the toughest hurdles to get past. In the last two periods, the Eagles outshot their opponent by a considerable margin, 15-8 and 11-7, respectively.

The actual killer of the match was the number of penalties committed, especially in the second period. The slew of penalties led to a breakdown of the lineup, and Calgary capitalized on the weaknesses to run away with the game.

While on the road, the Eagles captured a power play goal for the last three games, but the last two games on home ice have not yielded the desired results.

Annunen could be considered responsible for the number of goals against the team, but his prolonged absence from the lineup and limited support from the defense was a huge contributing factor. Miner’s late appearance in the game was promising, but was not early enough to be a difference maker.

About Savvy Rafkin

Savvy is a recent Journalism and Media Communication graduate from Colorado State University. She spent most of her life playing softball and being surrounded by sports. As she entered college, she found her passion for sports writing and joined the Colorado State University Athletic Communications team. Later, she became a beat reporter for high school sports in northern Colorado.


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